The fires of The Dark Knight Rises (no spoilers)
[Editor's note: We at TG Daily would like to offer our deepest condolences to the victims of the senseless tragedy in Aurora, Colorado].
The final Nolan Batman film is mostly what I expected it to be. I'm not sure it would be possible for any film to live up to this film's hype, but it comes close.
The performances are good, I've never liked Christian Bale's Batman personally - especially his goofy bat-voice, but he delivers here a performance no worse or better than the previous two films in the franchise, so if you saw those, you already know.
Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman give great performances again, as expected. Michael Caine delivers his best and worst Alfred simultaniously, but I think the writing may be partly to blame, as Alfred is not well treated by the script this time around.
Tom hardy plays well the part of Bane, and pulls more from the character than I expected. Honestly, I was dreading Bane because he’s always been the most boring of Batman villains in previous itterations. Here however, he’s somewhat transformed. Other than the costume, this is not Bane at all. He has no origin story or personality that coincides with the Bane from the comics and shows.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a bit of a surprise, both in how integral his character is to the story, and how well the actor handled the really tough role. I'm looking forward to seeing him in Looper, and further action films beyond.
The real gem here, however, is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Hathaway fits the part in every dimension, but she doesn’t press herself into a mold as past actors have done in the role. She allows herself to find the character on her own, and gives us a new interpretation of the classic character, one which is perfect both physically and emotionally.
The fight scenes and special effects, including all the cool vehicles, are great, of course, but you already know that. I was surprised by a certain lack of gadgets in this film, however. There were very few bat-toys on display here other than the plane and motorcycle.
Everything else is what we’ve come to expect from Nolan’s Batman. My personal favorite detail is in the character design. Nolan knows that we know who all these character are, so not everyone needs to actually go by their goofy comics moniker. Hataway is a perfect example, though far from the only one. She’s Selina Kyle, and she dresses all in black, and they call her a cat-burglar in the papers, and her night-vision goggles look like little ears when flipped up onto her head, and that’s it. No one ever calls her "Cat Woman". No one ever needs to.
Of all the other things The Dark Knight Rises might be, it is also an incredible conclusion to a trilogy. The film ends the batman story Christopher Nolan wanted to tell in an outstanding way. It’s a complete batman story - something that no other Batman franchise has managed to do, and I’m not just talking about films.
Indeed, the comics and shows have always treated the caped crusader like an infinite defender of Gotham, an inexhaustible supply of dark justice with no end. Nolan’s story, however, has a beginning, middle and end which all work well. Years from now, that’s what this trilogy will be remembered for. The three movies are good, but they are also a complete trilogy arc, each film serving as an act in a fluid three-act story.
Everything comes together well at the conclusion, and really, can we ask for more than that from our heroes?